WPCandy’s 2011 Year in Review

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Another 365 days have gone by, which means it’s time again for WPCandy’s Year in Review. Crazy, believe me, I know.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys stats and traffic numbers, this post is basically designed just for you. Grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice) and reflect a bit on the last year at WPCandy.com with me.

Traffic statistics

WPCandy grew a good deal in 2011, in numbers but more importantly in its place in the community. I think I can confidently say, at this point, that WPCandy is an important site to follow for many members of the WordPress community.

That said, numbers and trends are still fun to look at. Let’s start with the big numbers for the year.

In 2011 there were nearly two million pageviews at WPCandy, and around 547,000 unique visitors. Looking at the chart above, I’d say March through June were our most active numbers for the year. The summer wasn’t bad either, but both the beginning and the end of the year weren’t quite as impressive.

For those interested in browser stats: 38.03% of visitors using Firefox, 35.6% Chrome, 14.15% Safari, 5.9% using IE, 3.1% “Mozilla Compatible Agent”, 1.67% Opera.

Comparing these 2011 numbers to 2010 is a bit difficult, since I only implemented Google Analytics halfway through 2010 (before that the site was tracked using Mint). So let’s look at some numbers in December 2010 compared to those same numbers in December 2011.

MetricDecember 2010December 2011
Twitter5,070 followers9,675 followers
Facebook326 fans1,039 fans/likes
Comments388 reader comments~800 comments

Content statistics

We also published a lot of content in 2011. Altogether, 1,031 posts were published on WPCandy, 598 of which were categorized as news. I authored 773 of all published posts in WPCandy, and the other 258 were handled by the rest of the team (more on that below).

But it’s not all about the quantity of posts, it’s about the community and the interaction. Approximately 8,000 comments were made by our community in 2011, which is kind of a staggering number. That’s around eight comments per post, or over six hundred every month. One of my goals in December of 2010 was to see over six hundred comments in a month, so I’d say that one was achieved with flying colors.

The most popular pages on the site in WPCandy weren’t all created and published in 2011. There are still a few posts from the back archives, and some published in late 2010, that amounted to quite a bit in 2011. If I keep the list to just what was published in 2011 (and skip the homepage) the list looks like this:

  1. Our tutorial section
  2. Our themes tag
  3. WPCandy Pros
  4. How to make your own WordPress functionality plugin
  5. The future of WordPress themes in 2011
  6. Collection of retro and vintage themes
  7. Is Tumblr the new WordPress?
  8. The WPCandy Forum
  9. How to find WordPress themes
  10. A Hypercritical Analysis of $35 Themes

The popularity of our tutorials on this list surprised me a bit, to be honest. It’s one of the sections that I’ll be spending more time developing in 2012.

I was also very pleased to see Pros so high on that list, since its launch was one of the site’s major milestones in 2011 (see below for more). I’m very excited to grow that particular part of the site as well.

Lastly, I’m excited to see two editorials on that list, and in particular that those editorials were from members of the WordPress community and not just this schlub (read: me). I plan on working harder to bring more editorials to WPCandy this year as well.

Milestones in 2011

When focused on the day to day tasks that come with running the site and planning out each week’s content, sometimes it can be easy to overlook just what the site has accomplished in the last year.

In January of 2011 I launched the Powered By system, which stuck around for more than half the year. It helped me to make the transition to working on WPCandy full time, and allowed for a number of the fun projects done in the first half of the year. Powered By, like many great projects, eventually evolved into something even stronger (see below).

Theme Madness 2011 in the spring was a lot of fun, and I think introduced folks to a lot of theme shops they didn’t know about before. You can bet that this one will be coming back to WPCandy this spring, and in a big way.

WPCandy Pros launched over the summer of 2011, and now lists hundreds of WordPress professionals, of various skills and rates, from all over the world.

In September Pressed Ads launched as the spiritual successor (at least in part) to the Powered By system. I explained the transition in the original launch post, but it’s safe to say that Pressed Ads offers a lot more room for growth, and opportunity for others to become a part of the network. Pressed Ads became particularly exciting in November when other WordPress-centric and developer blogs started coming on board. I love that Pressed Ads not only works for WPCandy, but is paying others in the WordPress community to blog about WordPress.

A couple of new shows popped up on the site, and have really found their stride. The Sweet Plugin is my solo plugin lovefest, and First Taste has been a fun way to test out new commercial WordPress products. I’m looking forward to building up the other video ideas I and the WPCandy team have in 2012.

The WPCandy Team in 2011

Speaking of the WPCandy team, I’m very proud of the team that’s begun to come together around this site. The first half of 2011, personally, I was working on (aside from making a cool site for all of you) making WPCandy sustainable for myself. In the second half of 2011, though, I sought to make WPCandy work for a few other people.

2011 saw a slew of awesome people contributing posts to WPCandy.

  • Brian Krogsgard wrote a slew of posts in 2011, and though he now has a (proper WordPress) full time job, he still finds time to contribute now and then. He also pops in for podcasts and First Taste episodes, which is great.
  • Justin Rouch has become a solid and dependable author here at the site, and is one of the few people that blog on WPCandy who I’ve met in person more than once or twice. It’s like we have a special bond, he and I. And no, you can’t have any part of it. The bond is ours.
  • Mark McWilliams is helpful all over the place at WPCandy, not only when it comes to writing up posts. He also enjoys pushing me a bit when it comes to bugs around the site and new features, which I always need more of.
  • Daniel Immke has joined the site not only as an author but as a member of the WPCandy Podcast, starting somewhere between the fall and the winter of 2011. Oh, and he also does that goading thing Mark does really well too. Now that I think about it, I might have my quote of goaders on the team.
  • Kelvin Glover has been around as a new intern contributor for the last couple of months, and I’m very excited to see him getting more involved in the WordPress community this way.
  • Also important in 2011 were friends of mine that did a really great job writing for the site in those first few launch months. Justin Vela, Aaron Kugler, and Eric Lash were a huge help writing posts both in 2010 and the beginning of 2011.
  • I don’t want to forget to mention Jonathan Dingman, who jumped on board right at the end of 2011. Enjoy a tiny mention on this list, Jonathan, and likely a much bigger mention at the end of 2012.

Members of the community also stepped up to contribute a post here or there. Eric Weiss sent in a few reviews, and Matt Cohen contributed some killer tutorials as well. Then there were those that wrote up editorials or participated in the WordPress Workspace series—a big thanks to everyone who did that too.

Now we aren’t quite to the point of bringing anyone on full time yet, but it’s on the horizon. Yikes, can you imagine what this ragtag group would pull off with that much time on their hands? It’s probably best we avoid it altogether.

Oh, and before I forget: if you’d like to join the team at WPCandy in one capacity or another, please do get in touch. I’d love to chat with you.

Looking ahead to 2012

I have a number of plans and goals set for 2012. It’s going to be the biggest year at WPCandy yet. I won’t share everything, because where’s the fun in that? But there are a few items worth mentioning.

What we do write and produce here—whether it’s news, reviews, the podcast, or various video productions—will improve in quality. That’s something I’m particularly excited about this year. Specifically I’d like to see reviews, features, and editorials happening with a greater frequency that in 2011.

Then of course there are the various projects we have underway here, but plans for those might be better left to their own posts. In short, the plan is to get much bigger and much, much better.

Phew, that was both exhilarating and exhausting to go through. I hope you enjoyed it a little bit, assuming you made it through the whole post. Thanks to all of you for reading the site and for trying out all the projects and ideas that we try out here. I love doing what I do, and I really am thankful for all of you for allowing me to.

But I’m done talking now: how was your 2011?

14 thoughts on “WPCandy’s 2011 Year in Review

  1. Love it man! Loving all the stats, and so impressed by what you continue to build here – bigger and better all the time, I love the big picture that you see off in the distance and the pragmatic steps you’re taking to get there. Brilliant!

  2. Congratulations on an amazing 20112, Ryan and the rest of the team!

    I’m really excited to see what happens at WPCandy in 2012, I’ll certainly be sticking around to find out :)

      • +1 on comment editing, hugely important feature.

        Also, it would be good if you could find some way to allow us to include even just one link in our comments – there are so many times when someone has asked about something here and I know the site they need but don’t comment because I know that it will just end up in your spam filter. Not a huge problem but you would get a better flow of discussion if you could fix this quirk.

  3. Holy crap! This is a little off topic, but it fit better here than anywhere else. I had relied on reading WPCandy through my RSS reader since the last redesign. Reason being, I’m stuck on IE7 at work. WPCandy was unreadable… one word printed per line for me. Today, Google Reader became useless to me, so I was cruising my links the old fashioned way again. And waddaya know, WPCandy looks fine on IE7. That’s awesome, it’ll keep me going until my work upgrades browsers.

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